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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
 
Thursday, May 9 2002

Dogmas

I've been resisting the desire to write more about the church sex abuse scandals, and think I can stay away from the central issues (what more is there to say, after all?), while dabbling in some peripheral ones that may stir response without, I hope, creating acrimony. This does have a local, Altoona-Johnstown-Diocese, angle, because of something the bishop said earlier this week in a Tribune-Democrat interview and which keeps playing through my thoughts.

Bishop Joseph Adamec was quoted as saying he is more concerned about the perceptions of non-Catholics the scandals raise than those of the Roman Catholic faithful. “I am concerned more about the effects outside of the Catholic Church. Catholics understand that we are all people of sin,” he told his interviewers, implying (?) that non-Catholics wouldn't expect sin, or so much of it, from Catholics. I suppose that my initial reaction as a lifelong non-Catholic is that it seems generous of him to impute such good opinions of us, but I think most of us have seen The Godfather or imitations of it.

And although the connection isn't clear in my own thinking, I keep wondering what role specifically RC dogmas may play in the widespread vow-breaking among clergy. Those of us who consider ourselves Christians who dissent from certain RC dogmas are likely to question the role those teachings play in weakening the resolve of some to abide by their vows.

Dogmas, in most religion, are kept to a minimum as much as possible, but among those who call each other Christians, Catholics have more of them than the rest. Dogmas are the things that must be believed to be included in the faith community. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox generally agree (traditionally—among liberals in the denominations, anything is up for grabs) that Christ is the eternal creator God, that the Trinity though not understood before the resurrection always was what it now is. That's bedrock dogma; to deny it is to part with Christianity. It's the reason these three church families decline to accept Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses as Christians, even though the Mormons, in particular, want to be thought such. Both of those groups have a non-Triune diety and understand Christ in terms unacceptable by the ecumenical councils of the early church and the writers of the New Testament (e.g., Romans 1:20).

There's too little space left to bring my threads together today, so God willing I'll take up my stitching in my next entry, on Tuesday. But to give something to chew on in the meantime, I will say I think the two distinctly Catholic dogmas that make toeing the line most difficult are the usually cited prohibition of marriage for priests, and (which I haven't seen cited elsewhere) prohibition of "artificial" birth control for married Catholics. Give it some thought and let me know what you conclude.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Courage

A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist.

"I want a tooth pulled, and I don't want any pain killers because I'm in a big hurry," the woman said. "Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we'll be on our way."

The dentist was quite impressed. "You're certainly a courageous woman," he said. "Which tooth is it?"

The woman turned to her husband and said, "Show him your tooth, Dear."

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

What do people mean when they say "I am not afraid of
God because I know He is good?" Have they never even
been to a dentist?

C. S. Lewis

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